Pages 5 (1255 words)
“I would play the ‘Soda Fountain Rag’ as a one-step, two-step, waltz, tango, and fox trot. Listeners never knew it was the same piece. I was established as having my own repertoire” (Ellington 112)…
Despite James playing operatic arias and Daisy favoring parlor songs, many people believe that Duke’s musical talents, though not his primary source of ambition, were etched in his DNA, having been decided for him before he was even born. Duke’s first love was baseball. While his parents encouraged his athletic abilities, they also stimulated his musical side, knowing that the talent was there, but just needed to be mined. At the ripe of age seven, Duke began receiving piano lessons from Marietta Clinkscales. Daisy wanted Duke to be a well-rounded young gentleman, so she also made sure that, alongside his piano lessons, he would be taught manners and elegance. As a result of his refined behavior, grace, and the classy way that he dressed, Duke’s friends gave him the affectionate nickname Duke with the belief that a young boy so noble deserved a title. Growing up, Duke dedicated a balanced amount of time to his piano lessons and to baseball. When he entered high school, Duke got his first job selling peanuts at baseball games. Around the same time, his personal love for music began to develop into what would become one of the greatest legacies in American music history. At the age of fifteen, while working another job as a soda jerk, Duke penned his first composition, “Soda Fountain Rag.” Duke had yet to learn to read and write music, so this composition was created entirely by ear.